Assen has been updated. The redesigned circuit gets its official opening on the weekend of April 2, 2006, with a round of the Dutch open championship on April 2.
The first world championship event follows shortly after when the FIM World Endurance Championship Assen 500 race takes place two weeks later – on April 17.
The new loop of the track begins at the end of the start-finish straight with the Haarbocht curve, kinks right through Madijk, loops right again through Ossebroeken and then rejoins the old circuit at Strubben. See images right (supplied by FG Sport)
The circuit varies in width between 14 and 10 metres, and features 6 right hand and 11 left hand corners. The longest straight, between Strubben and Ruskenhoek, stretches 560 metres and will be used for measuring top speeds.
The new circuit is 4.555km long, and the Assen 500km race will run for 110 laps, giving an actual race distance of 501.05km.
Qualifying for the Assen 500 starts on Saturday April 15.
Assen hosts a MotoGP on June 24 and a WSB round on September 3 in 2006.
Post Bus 150
9400 AD Assen
Ticket sales: 0031-592-314324
Local tourist info: 0031-592-314324
The town of Assen is 100 miles north of Amsterdam, which is probably a good thing, but simple to reach. Take the main A28 towards Groningen (only 15 miles from Assen and nicknamed " Little Amsterdam " for reasons which become obvious when you visit) and exit at junction 32 for Assen-Zuid. Signs will take you to the track, but you can follow the streams of bikes just as easily ? the Dutch love their racing. Because of this, book early if you want a hotel. Beware though, if you?re riding up from any of the French ferry ports the Belgian police are notorious for viewing British bikers as easy meat for rich on-the-spot-fine pickings, so watch your speed and insist on paperwork for any money you hand over if they decide to penalise you for something.
IF only all tracks could be like Assen. Fast, flowing, safe, brilliant for fans, it?s everything you?d hope a circuit which was designed only to host bike races would be like.
For a spectator the atmosphere is legendary and virtually every race throws up memorable moments, while for riders it's a place where the top men can really express their art. There is a real knack to cracking Assen, the longest track on the calendar ? a unique and pronounced crown in the centre of the road betraying its public-road origins and making every corner unlike any other which may appear the same at other tracks.
The ever-changing cambers work both for and against riders and if they can?t conquer them they are going to be both slow, and at risk. Going into a turn and through it, the camber works for you ? seemingly ridiculous corner speeds and throttle openings are attainable. But on the exit when the bike crests the peak of the crown and moves from positive to negative camber huge care needs to be taken ? crashes at Assen tend to be big ones, and more than one star has found himself highsided at incredible speeds, upright and for no apparent reason, as the rear breaks loose and slides down the " hill " of the camber.
A lap on a big bike is a constant juggling act of giving it more throttle when you think you shouldn?t be, and being careful with the gas when you think you don?t have to. When a rider gets it right at Assen it shows, no matter what he is aboard: Carl Fogarty?s 12 WSB wins out of 16 starts on a variety of bikes is simply genius, while in GPs Kevin Schwantz was obviously another genius at work when he set the 500 class lap record in 1991 ? a decade later it had yet to be beaten. Incredible.
Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in Sport…